Box and Dropbox Race for Long-Term Relevancy


The Spanish InquisitionIn case you missed it, Dropbox has followed the path blazed by Box and has integrated with Microsoft Office. While Box integrated on the desktop, Dropbox is integrating with the Office mobile apps and plans to extend it to the Online Office versions. This is a no-brainer move as anything that simplifies people’s ability to work with content within Dropbox helps keep people using both tools.

On top of all this, Microsoft announced that their Android and iOS versions of Office will now be free. Microsoft is clearly trying to maintain their edge on the office productivity world and Dropbox is aiming to stay in front of people’s eyeballs.

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Doom and Gloom for Dropbox and Box?


If you have been anywhere near twitter the past week, you’ve seen the article from ZDNet asking Can Dropbox and Box survive as independent services? The author, Ed Bott, then goes into the pricing competition for storage and how both services are falling way behind the curve to Google, Apple, and Microsoft.

Ed misses the point. This isn’t about storage. Not anymore. It is also about convenience. How well can you synch across all your devices with products from the big three? How well do those products work with other applications on your mobile devices?

Even more importantly, how well do those applications serve the enterprise?

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Box v Dropbox v Everyone


While I was at Alfresco, I made a point of ignoring the competition. I always believe that if you can’t win without saying something negative, don’t bother. On the flip side, I didn’t want to draw extra attention to the competition.

Don’t have any of those issues now.

Even though I was quiet, new things still happened. Recently both Box and Dropbox have been making some announcements. While I am not going to go into the details, plenty of people have done that already, I’m going to talk about why any of it matters.

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What Constitutes Industry Leadership?


File:Aston Martin DBS V12 coupé (front left) b-w.jpgOne of the debates that I have often had with other Information Professionals is the question, Who are the “Leaders” in our industry? This was always up for a good debate because we could never agree on the basic ground rules:

  • What role does the technology play?
  • Do you measure by sales or install base?
  • Do we care what Gartner, Forrester, or others say on the topic?
  • What players are even in our industry?

With all these open questions, it is a debate that usually lasts until someone gets fed up and forces a topic change upon the group by asking, Who is buying the next round?

This is a question that is important for me to address and I thought I would open it up for discussion.

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Box Defends Against Office 365


In case you missed it, Box introduced some new pricing last week. While the details are not relevant right now, the key detail was that if you have only 10 people, your price per user is now $5. This is great if you are a small shop because you don’t need as many features and you do need secure sharing.

So why bring Office 365 into this? Because this new price range is same as the Office 365 Small Business tier. Sure you can get more with Office 365, but Box still has that “easy to use” feature going for it.

Still, why Office 365? Because Office 365 is great for small shops. It bundles email with SharePoint and Lync. For a organizations with minimal to no infrastructure, it is a very quick setup and before you know it, you have your basic productivity tools.

I suspect that Box is looking at Microsoft as the big Gorilla in the corner. If they aren’t then they should be doing that. Microsoft has a decent cloud solution and a ton of money. It should be possible to fix SkyDrive, make an interface that works on Apple, and market to the same people that Box targets.

Box used to market against SharePoint to get attention. Now they need to work against them to make sure they stay safe.

Box Isn’t Disrupting Because of the Cloud


I recently realized this truth which seems both contradictory and obvious at the same time. Box and the other cloud vendors aren’t disrupting the industry because they are Cloud/Software-as-a-Service(SaaS) vendors, they are disrupting it because they put people ahead of the Enterprise.

Think on it a minute. I talked about this in my AIIM keynote but I didn’t link it all together. SaaS may be the disruptive technology but it is the ease-of-use built into the applications themselves that is giving them market share.

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2012, The Year that Wasn’t


Photo by laffy4k of FlikrI don’t know if this was a result of leaving the consulting world or a side effect of not having made any predictions for 2012, but this year appeared to be a very non-newsworthy year in Content Management. Oh, things happened, but nothing big.

I didn’t realize it until Ron Miller asked me what I thought the biggest story was this year. I couldn’t think of a story that was “big”. I could wade through a bunch of small stories and pick the “biggest”, but that wasn’t what he was looking to learn.

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